Parents and educators may play critical role in prevention
By Angela Sivak
We’ve just released a report on how synthetic marijuana accounted for 11,406 visits to hospital Emergency Departments in 2010.
So what’s all the fuss about?
Synthetic marijuana, while different from authentic marijuana, can still have a negative impact on your health. Our Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that the use of this drug has been linked to high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, and other adverse affects.
The drug’s use has become widespread over the past several years, especially among youths. As noted in the report, youths ages 12 to 17 constituted one third of synthetic marijuana-related visits to the Emergency Department in 2010. The CBS News article also cites A Monitoring the Future survey finding that synthetic marijuana was the second-most used drug among high school seniors in 2011. 11.4 percent of students admitted to using it.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) did ban five of the chemicals in synthetic marijuana in July 2012, making the drug illegal and no longer accessible in convenience stores or online, but people continue to use it. Because a high percentage of users are adolescents, parents and educators may be crucial in preventing this drug use.
“Parents, teachers, coaches and other concerned adults can make a huge impact by talking to young people, especially older adolescents and young adults, about the potentials risks associated with using synthetic marijuana,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.
Many states are currently providing parents with webinars and fact sheets on the signs and symptoms of synthetic marijuana to help them recognize and prevent use within their families.
How do you think parents and communities can keep youth out of emergency rooms?
Resource: “Parental Involvement in Preventing Youth Substance Use”
A recent graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (May 2012), Angela Sivak is currently interning with the SAMHSA Office of Communications. She plans to use her internship here to set the foundation for a career in public health communications, with an emphasis in social media management.